Deadline Now: U.S. Congressman Bob Latta
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Deadline Now: U.S. Congressman Bob Latta

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bob Latta (R), representing Ohio's 5th U.S. Congressional District, sits down with Jack Lessenberry for an in-depth conversation about the economy, job creation, the race for the White House, and many other issues.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:

Congressman Bob Latta’s father, Del Latta, served thirty years in Congress from Ohio’s Fifth Congressional district. But in all that time, his Republicans never once held a majority in the House.

When his son finally took over his father’s old seat, the GOP was back in the minority again, and it looked like it would be a long time before that changed. But the Republican avalanche of 2010 gave the GOP their largest number of House seats since 1948.

For the first time in history, a Latta is part of a congressional majority. However, with power comes responsibility. Del Latta could, and did, feel free to openly criticize any budget or spending bill the Democratic majority rammed through the house. But today Republicans control the agenda in the House of Representatives.

Bob Latta may be a little less politically free to criticize unpopular legislation passed by a Republican house. Other things have changed too, since his father’s day.
When the next congress convenes, Ohio will have lost five seats in congress since the 1980s, which means that the state will have correspondingly less clout. 

Other things are changing too throughout the industrial Midwest. Hundreds of thousands of high-paying, low-skilled manufacturing jobs have simply vanished.

And they are never coming back. 

Chrysler and General Motors survived a near-death experience, but when they do hire new workers these days, they make a fraction of what they used to.

Ohio and Michigan face a lot of issues these days, most of which revolve around the economy. The major parties have hugely different ideas about how to improve things.

But there are deeper problems too.

People are worried about everything from their jobs and paying their bills to their kids’ education. Parents wonder if their children are learning enough. Are they going to be able to go to college? And what will they do after they graduate?
People have always had problems, but these days, there’s a lot of anger at our politicians in general and Congress in particular. There is a growing fear that our leaders don’t have much of a clue.

That’s something that wasn’t in the air when Bob Latta’s father first went to Washington, before Vietnam and Watergate and the other things that have happened since. Congressmen, whether Democrats or Republicans, have a tougher job these days.

For Bob Latta, like Toledo's Marcy Kaptur, it should be an interesting year ahead.